Early Instrumentals

I started writing music at around age 12. Inspired by Suzanne Ciani and, yes, the man himself, Yanni (we watched a LOT of PBS music programming), much of my early output were instrumentals. Given these formative influences, my compositions of the time were rather new-agey; but upon revisiting I found a few parts to be more driving and tempestuous than I remembered (though admittedly sentimental).

I’d start out with a lyric – usually something cringe and thirsty in a pubescent sort of way (mind you, I always seemed out for blood, or at least energy vampirism, rather than romance or puppy love). Having words in mind would allow me to craft decent pop hooks around their rhythm, and then I’d discard the words and keep the music. However, I’d use the cast-off lyrical content to inform the titles.

“‘Come into my parlour,’ said the spider to the fly…”

I am well aware that I have a weird and lazy way of playing piano. Back then some of the problem was youthful heavy-handedness, but the part that persists today is that my left hand is mostly useless when I play, simply plodding along in broken chords to accompany the right-hand melody. It is probably unforgivable that I never bothered to learn how to execute proper left-hand parts, but the prospect always seemed like such an impediment to the immediacy of pounding out big emotions.

I consider these pieces to be curious artifacts. Goodness knows they sound like they were rescued from a flooded basement (and I didn’t use noise reduction on all of them, because it actually made some of them sound even worse). I am releasing them all as numbered untitled-s because my original titles sounded much too artsy-fartsy and self-serious (though I will tell you that “Untitled Two” was originally called “Neptune Rise on Mercury Day,” which, though still insufferable, at least had some cleverness behind it: someone with the initials N.R. was the first one I looked twice at after being hung up for years on someone with the initials M.D., and it reminded eighth-grade me that a whole universe of shiny objects existed out there for me to torment myself with, rather than just one!).

“Untitled Six”, which has a tiny bit of vox, might be considered the turning point between the really old sh*t and the beginnings of what I do now. My rudimentary multi-tracking experiments begin with “Untitled Seven”.

One last note: It is pretty obvious in listening to “Untitled Eight” that I was into the X-Files at the time. To me the biggest takeaway from the show was the profound, un-rectifiable loneliness of intelligent, driven people, which spans differences in coping mechanisms and belief systems. This track was my feeble adolescent attempt to capture some of that.

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